Tuesday, June 26, 2007

NECC Tuesday Session 4

The last concurrent presentation for me on Tuesday was called Information Avalanche Rescue: RSS Feeds in the Classroom. The information can be found at http://eduscapttes.com/sessions/rss. This session gave a great overview of what RSS is, the tools that you can use to get the RSS feeds and then gave ways to integrate RSS into your classroom. They discussed using web based aggregators as apposed to the ones built into your browser (the browser ones are available only on your machine). They also discussed services available to create your own RSS feeds (such as feedburner) for posting on the web. Finally, they gave a whole lot of resources (websites, podcasts, feeds etc) that can be used in the classroom.

NECC Tuesday Session 3

For Session 3 I went to a session called Quick and Easy Computer Activities for the Math Classroom by Tammy Worcester. Her site is www.tammyworcester.com and there should be a link to the presentation. She is an author of several books (including one that is the title of the session) on using computer programs in the classroom. She was enjoyable and easy to listen to. She did several activities on using Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint in a Math classroom. They were simple activities but were easy to follow and usuable on many different levels. This session was also one that will be podcasted from the NECC site. It would be worth listening to if you are interested!

NECC Tuesday Session 2

This is the triggermap that I created during the Tuesday 12:30 - 1:30 session. We used our flickr accounts to tag a picture with the latitude and longitude of a particular place (I choose Stone Mountain) and then add a picture to that place. You can see it on the world map below. You could add pictures to many different places and have landmarks or geography lessons from any place in the world. What do you think?
Another site which is apparently simpler to use was also brought up by someone in the audience - www.communitywalk.com. It seems to do the same thing and has a little more map capability.
If anybody has used either one with success I would be very interested in comments!

Get your own Trippermap!

NECC Tuesday Session 1

Session 1 was all about bookmarking research using furl and delicious. It was acalled Del.icio.us Research: Redesign Assignments with Social Bookmarking. The address for this session's information is http://necc2007.pbwiki.com/. It was another good session, but most of what she talked about was redundant to what we have learned in this class (good to hear it again of course. Some of the highlights were:
1. Do searches for the tags in delicious – when we did a search for free clip art we got 3,200,000 hits in Google but only 2500 hits in del.icio.us.
2. Have one login for all the students in your class. That way they are all seing the same notes that you have setup for that class. The problem there is that students can change password but, if you click on the forget password link, it will send the password to the address that you used to set up the account.
3. If you access this site: http://del.icio.us/help/buttons, you can add buttons to the toolbar without admin rights on the computer.
4. Make sure you log out the delicious account so that the next class of students are logged out (delicious doesn’t do it automatically)
5. The students (if logged into the same site) can only tag one site at a time. If the next person tries to tag it you can’t because it is already in your list. Everybody has to find an original source/site.
6. Have the students tag with their names so you know which ones did it
7. If you highlight text on the site and then click the tag bookmarklet, the highlighted text will appear in the notes section (doesn't always work correctly).
8. One cool thing that furl does that delicious does not. In furl you can export your links into MLA or APA style for correct works citied pages!

Monday, June 25, 2007

NECC blog 4

This session was called Digital Photography and Video Projects for Improving Learning. Amazingly enough, this session was all about using pictures and video in the classroom. The link to the presenters site is http://www.arnieabrams.net/handouts.htm. He had some great movies that showcased different subjects including Language Arts/Foreign language, Science, Social Studies, Math, and even some health issues. He also discussed some teacher tools such as a visual seating chart and sharing teacher experiences via the video camera. He finished off with some tips about making movies and using cameras.

NECC blog 3

From 12:30-1:30 I went to one of the spotlight sessions - A Bright Idea: Shedding Light on Web 2.0 Applications which was presented by Kathy Schrock. You may know the name from Discovery Channel. She has been a staple in the education community for quite a few years and was enjoyable to hear speak. Her presentation can be found at: http://kathyschrock.net/web20/. She went through all kinds of web 2.0 programs including all of the programs that we have talked about this course. She talked about several others including pageflakes, bubbl.us, Zoho creator, slideshare, voo2do, goowy, youOS, g.ho.st, getSparc, zamzar, peepel, writeboard, skrbl, and netvibes. All kinds of completely online programs which need nothing to be installed on your machine. She also talked about Google's Docs and Spreadsheet program which is an online replacement for the Office Suite. Lots and lots of programs and info. Check them out and see if one of them works for you!

NECC blogs 2

OK, just left the second session and am posting. It was called HightTech Kids: Integrating Technology in the Elementary Classroom. The setting was one of a group of students in a lab setting. There were 5 tables of 4 computers on each table and then plenty of seats around the outside for observers. I was a participant so I was sitting at one of the computers. We had 4 different activities to play with. One was a MP3 activity where you had to record your voice while you read a story back. One was a PowerPoint Presentation to create your own idiom in picture form from a list of idioms at a webpage. Another activity was using the white board (she had a Promethean board) to work on synonyms, antonyms, and homonyms. The last (and the activity that I was involved with) was using Kidspiration (which is the K-2 version of Inspiration) to distinguish between synonyms and antonyms. You had to move around the words into the correct bag. These lessons were all for the K-2 classroom.
The next workshop that I am going to is led by Kathy Schrock (of Discovery Channel fame). I will post on how that was later.

NECC blogs 1

Hello everybody, I am here at the NECC and am blogging this first session. I am sitting at the next session which doesn't begin for a while and I thought I would put up this blog. The first session that I went to was by Will Richardson which is the author of the book we are using for this class that has my blogging. I asked him to sign my copy which I had with me (to finish up my assignments this week) and he was happy to do so! Very nice, laid back guy. I quickly made notes from his presentation on blogging in schools during the session, I will post them up once I get them into some kind of order that make sense. He was impressed with how many people there were in the room that were using both RSS feeds and blogging. He had a full room (his presentation was an open lab type so there were 40 computers set up as thin clients and about another 40 chairs in the back. There were people sitting all along the walls and standing up in the back so I would say that there were 100+ people in the room) and it didn't seem like there were a lot of hands up, but he was excited.
An interesting point that he made was one that blogging shouldn't just be doing the old analog things in a digital way. We need to change our thinking about how we are doing things. So, making this post, my question is how do we do things differently?

Thursday, June 21, 2007

created video

This is a PowerPoint presentation that I created last year. I converted it to a movie using Camtasia Studio and then uploaded the file to youtube.com. The presentation is one that I have made to the media specialists in my area who are interested in starting up a media production studio in their school. Here you go!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Friday (and last day) update

So, here is the update for the last day. Again, this is coming after the fact but I wanted to get the info posted.
So Friday morning, we had all the machines up and running and went out on the web to find what the prices of parts would be to build their own machines. We went over to www.newegg.com and did searches for computer parts. We looked up motherboards, CPU, RAM, hard drives, GPU, optical drives, fans, and cases. Then we added up all the prices of the different machines that we built to see what they would cost. Then we went over to www.dell.com to compare what a prebuilt machine would cost. We found that if you were looking for a lower end machine, you just can't beat the prices that Dell has on their site (about $399). But, if you are looking to drop some coin on a machine, you could save some money on the total price by building it yourself. Of course, you won't get any kind of warranty service and you will still have to pay for a monitor (which usually come with the price of a machine) but it is a better deal to build. Then we played a network version of chess so they could see how you could play over the LAN against other people. That was it, I think all in all, the class went well. We did finish the class with three working computers, which was the plan, so I guess that is truly what matters.
The afternoon class finished off well also. When they came in the .avi files that we had made yesterday were ready to go and worked well. So, the different groups finished up their movies. One group decided to add text labels to all the different places he was showing in his documentary of the school. The other group added a blooper reel and alternate ending at the end of the movie(after the credits). And, the other group worked with pictures and the chroma key function of Premiere to get a background for different parts of their murder play! At the end of class we burned CDs that had the three movies for each of the students. All of the feedback that I heard was positive so I feel like things worked.

Thursday update

Well, I didn't update for two days - got a little behind but here it is, for anybody who wants to know!
Thursday was one of our lower days. The morning class the students all got the machines together (got all of the peripherals unboxed and plugged in - including monitor, speakers, keyboard, mouse, network into the switch etc) and we installed the operating systems (we are using Microsoft Vista). But, we were unable to get them on the Internet. After about 20 minutes are playing around with settings and buttons, we had to move on. After class was over we were able to get back to the machines and get them online, but it was one of those I don't know why it works now and didn't work then? The best we could decide it was a cable issue, perhaps a loose wire or connector that wasn't pushed in all the way... The machines are new and pretty high end and the OS only took about 30 minutes to install. Pretty quick and really not to user involved. Once you begin the process, you don't need to be back again untill it is done (no stopping half way through to ask about a keyboard or time like XP).
The afternoon class continued to give me issues. While the students were understanding and really not too upset about the problems, the .mod files were still a pain. We were able to convert them over to the .mpg just by changing the extension and they worked but they were clunky. It is difficult to try and edit a movie when it is jumping a few seconds every time you are watching through it. So, to try and fix this, we had the students put the .mpg files in the timeline in the order that they wanted and then after class was over I went ahead and exported the movie as a .avi file. Then, I took that .avi file and was able to import that back into Premiere with no problem. The choppy was gone and it worked pretty well. The students will be able to edit and cut up this file the same way they would the other files and it worked better. Of course, as of Thursday evening, I didn't know if it was going to work. To make a movie with the .mpg files took a long time (over an hour to make a 3 minute movie). In comparision, the .avi files that we used the next day took about 4 minutes to export!!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Wed camp update

So we are through hump day and it went well. Today's update:
This morning we built the computers. They took all of the equipment and put them into the computers. We didn't get a chance to turn them on and see if they are working, but we got all the parts in. And, after class I went back and made sure that they turned on. Everything seemed to be working. I think the guys (no girls in the class) will be excited tomorrow when they turn on the computers and they go on! It is usually the highlight of the week for me.
The afternoon class seemed to work itself out. One of people who is helping me was able to get the problem with the cameras worked out. We have to do another step that shouldn't be relevant but it seems to work. The JVC hard drive cameras put out a .mod file which the old version of Premiere can't read. So, you have to change the extension from .mod to .mpg. This seems to work with the correct codec installed on the machine. However, the files are really slow when you are viewing them in Premiere. Once I render them it seems to work better but I think it would be even better if I could convert them to .avi and then import them. However, I haven't been able to get them from .mod to .avi. Hopefully we will be able to figure that out and test it tomorrow morning before I have that class.
The students all took the day to film their movies and they enjoyed it. I have three different plans. One of the groups is filming a star wars remake sort of film, the other group (which is only one person - by choice) is doing a documentary type of film about the school that we are at, and the third group is doing a movie with a little mean streak. We are using the green screen capability for this last one and if everything works correctly it will be a neat effect. We will find out when we start editing the movies tomorrow!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

class, day 2

Day 2 of workshops:
The morning class went well. We finished taking apart the old computers and labeling all the parts. Once we had that done, I had the students put all the parts back into the old computers so they have experience seeing all the plugs going in and out. They seemed to enjoy themselves. We will start with the new computers tomorrow. The only problem is that they puchased another machine at a different time then the others so of course, it is a different machine. They have different video cards, different looks but hopefully not different architecture. We will find out!
The afternoon started off well but went downhill from there. We started working with Adobe Premiere (we are using version 6.5 which is an older one but still works well) and new JVC hard drive cameras. Unfortunately the cameras are too new and save the files in .mod format. So, we have to convert them to an .m2v file so that they work, but Premiere version 6.5 can't bring in both audio and video in that format. If I upgrade to Premiere Pro 1.5 it seems to work fine. So, it is either upgrade the software to a newer version or get me the older cameras that work on miniDV tapes. Stay tuned to tomorrow and see what happens.

Monday, June 11, 2007

my first day of camp

Well, I started the class today. I am teaching two different class, one on building computers in the morning and I had the filmworks class this afternoon.
In the morning we began taking apart older computers so the students could see the parts in a non-destructive manner. These machines are old and if they don't work after we are done that isn't a problem. I have 5 students in the class and they are all young. We took out and identified the power supply, hard drive, the sound card, network card, floppy drive, the CD-Drive, all the ribbon cables and connectors. Tomorrow we will finish with the RAM, the processor and fans, and finally with the motherboard itself. After that we will get out the new parts and begin building the machines.
In the afternoon, we are working on making movies. To begin we used the pictures that I had brought over to my del.icio.us account to make a very simple movie. I had the students go over to my account and then they could import whatever pictures they wanted. We were using Windows Movie Maker just so they could see how to put it all together and it worked out well. Each one of them (there are 8) chose different pictures and made a 1 minute (or so) movie with the pictures. We are going to get into more advanced stuff using Adobe Premiere, but this worked out well. Day one down, more to come.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Flickr, del.icio.us simple usage

Next week I teach a class on digital video and we begin working with Movie Maker so that everybody can see the free software that comes with Windows. We move on to other programs but we begin with Movie Maker. I went over to Flickr and added a bunch of photos over to my del.icio.us folder. Now if I have any students who don't have pictures to bring in, or just want to use other pictures they can use the ones that I have in my folder. I don't have to worry about the students seeing a picture that is not acceptable, I choose all the pics. Worked out pretty well for me, I am glad that I was able to use the tools. Simple use but helpful!

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Flickr image

This is an image that I brought over from my new Flickr account. In looking at this picture I am trying to think about all the different things I could do with it in the classroom.
1. A discussion on the cloud types
2. Perhaps on farming
3. Different landforms
4. Types of trees and bushes
5. Maybe even do a "where in the world" segment and see if we can't figure out where this picture has been taken because of the
details in the picture
Certainly you could have a picture of the day if you have a journal writing class or just as something that you start your day off with. Flickr has a different picture for each day section so you don't have to look too far to find it! You would want to do this search before the class is in the room however. It is after all a place where people put up pictures of anything they want! Be sure to check it out BEFORE it goes on the big screen for the whole class! :-)

If you are interested, here is the link to the picture: http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1044/534232058_bb781ef022.jpg

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Flickr uses

So, I just finished reading ch 7 of our book (which is written by WIll Richardson, you can check out his blog here) about Flickr. As I begun the chapter, I was thinking what am I going to use a picture editor for in the classroom? Now that I have finished, wow there are a lot of uses! The idea of annotation over pictures is great. Have pictures from a place of study (or find them on the web) and highlight what it is that I am looking at. Put little known facts about the Eiffel Tower or measurements of Mount Everest. How about a map that has all the states and capitals so when you roll over the area it tells you which is which? There are quite a few Social Studies uses, which of course roll into English uses when you think about it (since after all they will be writing these annotations). Pictures of Art and discussions of what you see and how it makes you feel.
I would love to hear any other uses that people are coming up with and how they might use it in a classroom.

I can just see it now, the new Rorshack test will be looking at inkblots on-line and telling the virtual therapist what you see! :-)

Monday, June 4, 2007

funny video

This video challenges all the Math we learned years ago. It is only about 2 minutes long and worth the watch! Enjoy!

Sunday, June 3, 2007

TeacherTube video

While I was looking at some of my blog links, I found a link to a video in TeacherTube. This site is for uploading and viewing educational videos. Here is one on Why Students Should Blog. Check out TeacherTube here and check out the video here!
So, to sum up, I am blogging about a link that I read in another blog and am posting the link that I found in her blog, in my blog! :-) Isn't blogging grand!

Saturday, June 2, 2007

more ideas on blogging topics

After a little more reading and discussion, I think that I am going to begin my focus with blogging with my 7th grade. They are fewer in number than my 8th grade class and I have worked with them throughout the past year on different assignments. Here are some more thoughts on working this out:
Maybe have them read an article of interest and then post what was or was not interesting to them. Then each other person would have to read the article and post their opinion.
Another idea would be to have sticks which have different subjects on them (Science, Math, S.S., Spanish, current events, weblogger's choice, etc) and re randomly draw to see what the topic will be for the week.
Another idea would be posting of math problems. I can see our math teacher posts a difficult problem that is based on what is being taught for that time and the students have to work it out collaboratively on the blog.
Perhaps a science experiment could be accomplished the same way. Different students could have different parts of the experiment and post what happened as they were going through their part.
I think that it will be important for me to get the parents involved in the process. Hopefully, I would be able to get some of them blogging as well. If a topic of interest is being discussed, or even one that their professional might give some insight to, perhaps they will join us.